My Hunt For The Mysterious Man Or Machine Controlling The Blizzard Arena’s Light-Up Halo

The Blizzard Arena halo fills with golden gentle as Seoul Dynasty maintains their maintain.

The Blizzard Arena stage has a substantial gentle-up halo on the ceiling that serves as a progress bar for Overwatch targets. As a group captures a stage, the halo fills up with that team’s hues. It’s an spectacular illustration of who’s profitable. And it’s all handbook. Or so I have been instructed.

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The other elements on the Blizzard Arena stage update mechanically, these as the substantial screens higher than just about every group that display which in-activity characters have died, as nicely as which characters have their Supreme assaults charged. Just like all those screens, the halo aids display the audience who’s profitable, but contrary to the rest of the stage, the halo demands 1 very crucial human to pay close attention to what’s heading on all through each individual Overwatch match.

I observed out about the all-crucial halo operator owing to being in the wrong area at the right time.

1 of the lounges near the skybox at the Blizzard Arena (impression via Blizzard Enjoyment)

When I arrived at the Blizzard Arena on Overwatch League opening day, I picked up my media bracelet and acquired escorted into the location by an function staffer. That staffer afterwards instructed me that she and lots of of her colleagues had been introduced on final-minute to account for the massive influx of reporters covering the function. That could describe why she took me to a very small press lounge in a hallway up coming to the Blizzard Arena skybox seating, as opposed to a considerably larger media lounge downstairs, where the rest of my colleagues ended up.

When I noticed Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer going for walks into the skybox along with other men and women I didn’t understand, I assumed to myself, “Am I in the right area?” But my home had a indicator on it that mentioned “press perform business office.” Possibly, at foreseeable future Overwatch League matches, that smaller home will be where the reporters close up. All through OWL Opening Day, while, each individual other man or woman close to me had a badge that mentioned “Backstage Go.” I didn’t.

I didn’t see any individual else with a brilliant orange media bracelet like I had, either. I questioned a few Blizzard Arena staffers where the rest of the reporters had gone, and none of them appeared to understand my concern.

Within the “press perform office” at the Blizzard Arena.

I hung out by the skybox, watching Nate Nanzer and his pals view Overwatch, and soon a dozen men and women gathered nearby. A tour guide had just begun a backstage tour of the arena. I edged to the back again of the tour and tried out to glimpse nondescript.

The tour guide instructed us all a story—the story of the halo. He stated that lots of men and women who’ve seen the halo in action have praised its use of Blizzard’s API, or software programming interface. In other text, viewers imagine that the halo’s lights react according to cues despatched by Overwatch in true time. But, the tour guide laughed, it doesn’t do that at all. It’s operated by a member of the Blizzard Arena generation group. Thanks to the popular assumption about who genuinely does his work, that worker has acquired the nickname “API.”

So, certainly, Blizzard’s API does make the halo gentle up. As in, a guy nicknamed API practically cranks up the halo lights according to what’s occurring in the activity, reside, as it comes about.

The tour guide and his group walked out of the skybox area. I knew from speaking to the location staffers that if I still left this area, I wouldn’t be able to get back again in with out an escort. Nate Nanzer’s skybox looked crowded, in any case, and I wished to question close to to see if any individual else knew about the halo’s mysterious operator. Was it just a enjoyment anecdote instructed by a tour guide to entertain investors and superior-rolling attendees? Or was it real?

Ok, so, which of these controls the halo? (Picture of the Blizzard Arena control home, via Blizzard Enjoyment)

I still left the skybox behind, never to return, because no other escort wished to enable me back again in there (and certainly, I did question). I went into the arena to view the halo in action, and I also questioned a few Blizzard workers about the halo operator. The initially two workers instructed me they didn’t assume the halo operator could be true, and that the halo had to be automatic. The third worker assumed so, way too, but he knew who to question: the head of generation backstage.

At 3 a.m. that evening, extended soon after Overwatch’s productive opening day had wrapped up with Seoul Dynasty and Dallas Fuel’s thrilling match-up, I acquired a text concept from that enterprising Blizzard worker: “Can verify it is run by anyone on our generation group, affectionately nicknamed API.” Who has the honor of carrying out this work? “Let’s keep it anonymous.”

The Blizzard Arena staff could be pulling my leg. But I’m really sure it’s true. The same Blizzard worker even appeared a minor wary, asking “how this would be used,” and telling me he assumed the story would be greater as a tweet than an article. Plus, none of the other Blizzard workers I spoke to had listened to of the halo operator, suggesting that the work really is solution, even internally.

Or maybe that’s all component of the little bit. Possibly I only noticed what Blizzard wished me to see, soon after all. Possibly Nate Nanzer is looking through this article right now, laughing at my naiveté. They always set 1 rube in the skybox at OWL matches, each individual time. It’s all for display.

I select to imagine in API. Just like Quasimodo at Notre-Dame, or Dunkin Donuts’ Fred the Baker (“Time to gentle the halo!”), this mysterious but all-crucial man or woman solitary-handedly makes sure that the Blizzard Arena’s massive glowing ring illuminates with just the right group hues at just the right time. Possibly, someday, that work will get automatic soon after all. But until finally then, it’s 1 much more magical component of watching Overwatch reside in the arena. You get to glimpse up and see the perform of the unsung API.

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